Worlds of Civil War: Globalizing Civil War in the Late Twentieth Century

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118Max Weber Occasional Talk

Jointly organized with the Department of History and Civilization

By David Armitage

Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History, Harvard University

21 May 2015, 17:00-19:00

Badia, Emeroteca


This paper critically examines the “globalization” of civil war in three distinct, but overlapping, ways. First, civil wars became global phenomena, seemingly distributed across all parts of the world and then gradually coming to supplant international or inter-state wars as the most characteristic form of large-scale organized violence around the globe. Second, and closely related to the first, civil war was increasingly brought under the jurisdiction of international and global institutions, especially international humanitarian law. And third, the communities within which civil wars were imagined as taking place became ever wider and more capacious, expanding from “European civil war” to various conceptions of “global civil war” early in the twentieth century.


“Worlds of Civil War: Globalizing Civil War in the Late Twentieth Century”, (PDF) an extract from David Armitage forthcoming book Civil War: A History in Ideas (Alfred A. Knopf, 2016).

About the speaker:

DAVID ARMITAGE is the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History and Chair (2012-14, 2015-16) of the Department of History at Harvard University, where he teaches international history and intellectual history. He is an Affiliated Professor in the Harvard Government Department and at Harvard Law School and is also an Honorary Professor of History at the University of Sydney. Among his fifteen books are The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2000), The Declaration of Independence: A Global History (Harvard University Press, 2007), (co-ed.) The Age of Revolutions in Global Context, c. 1760-1840 (2010)  (Palgrave, 2010), Foundations of Modern International Thought (Cambridge University Press, 2013), (co-auth.) The History Manifesto (Cambridge University press, 2014), (co-ed.) Pacific Histories: Ocean, Land, People (Palgrave, 2014), and Civil War: A History in Ideas (Alfred A. Knopf, 2016).